Those questions that make one think about what is most important and what one can do without, if necessary, such as, “If you could only have one of the four Gospels, which would you keep?” or “Which of the prophets would you choose if you had to?” leaves an interesting dilemma when it comes to the psalms. This morning’s psalm (Psalm 139) would be a strong candidate in the minds of quite a few people, I fancy, mostly because of its intimacy. This is an area of spirituality that draws me in unconsciously. I find devotionally intimate language deeply attractive.
Psalm 139 speaks of God knowing me within, having always known me, being ever close to me. If I analyse this more closely I know that it is why I also love the Songs of Songs, parts of Isaiah, the Gospel of John, the Psalms and other sections of Scripture that make my heart sing when they appear on the lectionary.
That begs the question, of course, why wait for them to appear on the list of readings for the day? Why not just read those all of the time? Naturally we do read them when we want to. That is not the point. The lectionary brings us the parts of the Bible that we find most helpful but persuades us to read the less attractive passages too. We are still on Proverbs at the moment, and shall be for another week. There are some verses in this book that help us reflect on life too. I rather like the Good News Bible translation of verse 3 of today’s reading from chapter 22: “Sensible people see trouble coming and avoid it, but an unthinking person will walk right into it and regret it later.” Quite true! I think I’ll go back to Psalm 139………